Ij6 A SEARCH IN SECRET EGYPT
philosophical abstraction. Merchants, servants and workmen; nobles, pashas and officials, thought nothing of stopping in the midst of their activities and kneeling prostrate before Allah in office, shop, street or home; quite apart from the mosque. Men who never dreamt of arising in the morning or retiring at nigh* without bending themselves in brief reverence before Allah, might have nothing more to teach us, but at least they h^d this one thing to teach the Western world, so busy and so preoccupied with other matters. I am not here raising the point of Islamic doctrines, which I shall explain in their proper place, but the point of what our faith in a Higher Power is worth; call that Power whatever we wish.
Imagine a man in London or New York getting down on his knees in an open street or space, thus publicly worshipping God; because he felt the call to do so, to remember the existence of Him who permits our own existence to continue! The man would either be laughed at, ridiculed and perhaps pitied by our over-clever moderns, or else he would be arrested as a nuisance for obstructing the traffic of passengers or vehicles!
The Sign of the Crescent hangs over the Near and Middle and Far East; while lately some of its rays have spread rapidly over the most distant parts of Africa. Yet, the strength ot the religion of Islam is not to be measured by the number of its adherents, but by the ardent devotion which each of those adherents gives to it. We, in the West, usually like to insert the qualifying adjective "fanatical" before the word Muham-medan, and, if we are not altogether right, we are also not aitogether wrong. Here are people who hold to the tenets of their religion with a fervour that we have lost.
Let us begin at the beginning, A man once knelt in a rocky cave on the rugged slopes of Mount Hka, in Arabia, and prayed to the Almighty that the pure, undefiled faith of the first patriarchs might one again be made known to his people, who were sunk in the grossest idol-worship, in a superstitious materialism which they mistook for religion.
That man was Muhainmed.
He was of middle height, with long flowing hair, a pale face, which had just a touch of cplour in the cheeks; both brow and